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Murder vs. Justice

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I was recently reading a novel where an innocent man was on death row; He spends the entire length of the book –along with his lawyer- trying to prove his innocence. This was an exceptional book so much that the reader feels every emotion along with him: frusturation at the frivolity of legitation, joy when there seems like there is a small glimmer of hope, desperation when the end is near, and finally helplessness when the end does come and he is strapped to a chair and brought to what the system calls “justice”. After closing the book I sat and let all of this sink in. I used to think I was in favor of the the death penalty but when I really thought about such power being placed in the hands of such an impersonal system, You are bound to get it wrong some of the time. The question is is it worth it?

I can’t say I’m a passionate person because that would seem a bit presumptuous, I think. What I can safely say is that I’m an angry person. When I hear of cold, heartless killings by men and women who kill for the pleasure of it beause that is the only way they are able to feel, I –who has no problem feeling- get angry. Very Angry. My first reaction is they deserve to die and if they deserve to die, let’s oblige them. Let’s kill them in the most heartless fashion that we can possibly think of. Let’s make sure they feel the terror their victims felt and lets show no emotion, but by feeling this way I am showing emotion. I am balancing someones life on my emotions. Emotions are easily manipulated. All it takes is a skilled, over-paid lawyer to choose the right words that will make me identify with the victim and fill me with indignity. All he needs to do is paint a picture of a small abused child who was taken advangtage of, a poor helpless woman who was raped in a dark alleyway, an upstanding citizen who was chosen randomly for a brutal and painful death –it could have been you- and I will be so blinded with anger that I will want to stab the “guilty” with my breakfast fork. Juries are made up of average people who know little to none about the legislative process. A quick survey into their lives will show you which buttons to push to extract the exact response desired- an illogical rage.No matter if the accused is guilty or innocent a verdict should never be based on more than the facts, but that is near immpossible. It is in our nature to feel and identify; we are emotional. My emotions are not a reliable judge and neither are yours.

I read once that 30% of the men on death row are innocent. That means that for every 70 evil, vile, horrible creatures that are put to die on death row 30 more innocent men die also. This is murder. When we as a country passively allow the death of innocent men so we can get our moment of justice, we become accessories to murder. If we allow this how are we better than these men that we feel deserve the death penalty?




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